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so i was sitting at home and suddenly - it went dark

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by iceberg, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. iceberg

    iceberg nothing is nothing Zone Supporter

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    anyone wonder how much of a threat this is? thabigp and i were talking about it and i'm just curious as to other thoughts on our return to the stone age.


    MILNET Brief: E-Bomb - Electro Magnetic Pulse Weapon

    [IMG]In the mid seventies and throughout the eighties, U.S. and other nuclear weapons developers began to explore concepts learned from above ground and underground nuclear tests. Analysis of the effects of high yield weapons disclosed the fact that the moment of detonation created a huge Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that was highly dangerous to electronic equipment

    Electromagnetic Weapons
    One of the other more important discoveries about the effects of a nuclear blast has become more important as we have moved fully into the "information age." A nuclear blast creates an electromagnetic effect called EMP -- Electro-Magnetic Pulse. Also, the pulse is followed by an ionization effect which limits radio signals in the area for up to 72 hours.

    The major electronic effect, the pulse, has so much energy that it is highly dangerous to sensitive electronic equipment. Effected the most are semiconductor based devices - computer chips. While certain physical and electrical designs mitigate dramatically the effects of an EMP pulse, protecting against it is quite expensive for each chip. As a result, few electronic devices in commercial use would survive a large EMP. The effects to electronic devices vary from reduced power in radio transmitters or low sensitivity in receivers, to total catastrophic failure of electronic devices such as vehicle ignition systems, computer controls, or communications equipment. Computer Data Center facilities would also be risk, an EMP attack within a target radius possibility taking out all computers in that area permanently.

    The original theory for a non-nuclear EMP producing device, thought up in 1927 by Dr. Arthur Compton to study atomic particles, makes use of injection of plasma into low electron count elements. By the mid 1980s, scientists had found ways to build a high energy device that, without resorting to a nuclear blast, could emit a huge EMP. Test drops of devices using B-52s and Cruise Missile airframes demonstrated the feasibility of the technology. A one time explosive device provides kinetic energy required to rapidly build an electromagnetic field through electromagnetic induction rather than through the nuclear chemistry found in a nuclear explosion. A second, low cost technology uses a moving short in a tube fed by a charging system. This technology, known as FCG - Flux Compression Generator, turns out to require far less cash to develop and manufacture.

    The mechanical construction of the FCG is actually quite simple -- an effective design of such a device can be accomplished by a college graduate in electronics or physics. Because of this fact we will not discuss the details for security reasons. Suffice to say that the non-nuclear EMP device can be manufactured anywhere a machine shop and electronic supplies are available. The electronics and explosives, while not available at your local Radio shack or hardware store, are, never-the-less much easier to procure by terrorists than any type of nuclear materials. Build the device's structure, add the electronics and explosives, and all you need is a timer to set off the explosion. Today, universities are already building prototype devices for further exploration of EMP weapons designs as well as non-lethal devices for use by police to disable vehicles. Countries such as India and several other asian nations are working on both devices and countermeasures.

    Detonating the EMP device in the air or near the top floors of a skyscraper maximizes the effects. Defenses include Faraday cages (similar to screening in that which is to be protected), however other effects, including one called "late time effect" may be able to get pass the Faraday cage protection.

    The EMP bomb is only effective in a finite area about the device. The larger the armature of the device, the larger the electromagnetic field produced. Thus a device could be one foot across and take out very localized equipment, say a control facility or communications system. A device four or five feet across could be used to take out all communications at an airport or from a skyscraper take out the semiconductor devices for several miles in a swath extending out in all unshielded directions.

    The EMP device's somewhat sophisticated mix of mechanical and electronics make it harder to design and thus given the same starting date for the program as an RDW, the EMP device would take longer. Estimates are from 6 months to two years. Cost is estimated to around $1000 for a small prototype to up to $10,000 for a large production line device effective over several miles. However, several sources indicate that a FCG might only cost $400 per device in a production environment.

    Today EMP devices are technologically feasible weapons to manufacture. Except for the difficulty for the average person to obtain the actual design specifications, the weapons can be constructed with materials available to governments and individuals alike. Through low level black market contacts this type of weapon could already be available to terrorists -- for instance the same dealers who sell terrorists their guns probably would be able to find someone to sell them the explosives and electronic components for the manufacture of an EMP weapon. And of course in some cases explosives are already in the arsenals of most terrorist groups. With nations like Iraq, Iran and possibly Libya, Syria, Lebanon, and North Korea who have terrorist connections, the opportunity for both explosive and electronic compoent sales to terrorists is at an all time high. Full up, ready to deploy weapons may find their way to the clandestine weapons market at any time.

    U.S. Director of Central Intelligence Tenet reported to Congress after 9/11 that while there is no conclusive proof any nation or terrorist group has created an EMP weapon, however there is also an alarming absence of proof that the devices have not been in production.. Reports out of Asia indicate that at least one country, India, has been building such a weapon, "for peaceful purposes" in order to study its effects and perhaps to build safeguards against it.

    Since it is expected that at least one nation has begun work on an EMP devices several years ago, it is quite possible the design is available to terrorists today.

    Statements from public and protected sources lead MILNET to believe that EMP devices will be used by terrorists in the short term. We evaluate the risk as being high and our confidence in our sources is also high. Recent efforts by the intelligence community to find manufacturing facilities for such devices indicate that MILNET is not alone in its analysis of the risk level.
  2. Vintage

    Vintage The Cult of Jib

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    Was this what happened in Dark Angel?

    (yes, another jessica alba reference. live with it. ;) )
  3. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    Yes and I will live with it with drool dribbling down my chin.:laugh2:
  4. iceberg

    iceberg nothing is nothing Zone Supporter

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    never saw dark angel but the iran leader makes a lot of hints that we'll be "made insignificant" very soon and intel shows they're working on this.

    now to appease the libs do we wait till we can no longer go online and whine about taking action before we do? : )

    basically a nuke is detonated 100 miles over northern north america and anything electrical is fried.

    you can't get power to your house.
    water either.
    your car won't start
    your phones won't work, not even the cell ones

    and unless you've got morse code setup with your families, you'd likely not talk to them for a long long time because - how?
  5. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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  6. utrunner07

    utrunner07 Well-Known Member

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  7. iceberg

    iceberg nothing is nothing Zone Supporter

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    i actually went and looked that up to see what you meant. : )
  8. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    The response from these hardened class of assets would glass over anyone responsible. This is the presumptive response to such an attack.

    Even a fanatic wouldn't invite such an outcome. And there are plenty of questions about the effectiveness and the yield necessary to obtain catastrophic shutdown nation wide from EMP. If possible at all. Bottom line is it would be suicide for the perps, and I wouldn't loose sleep over it.
  9. iceberg

    iceberg nothing is nothing Zone Supporter

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    oh, not losing sleep - just something to talk about and hopefully we all learn more about the overall idea. i know i want to.

    it does seem so "sci-fi" that it's surreal. i mean, could you imaging waking up tomorrow and your computer doesn't come on? it's over 100 deg inside cause no AC and you'd better eat your frozen foods first.

    if you can find the water. suddenly living near a lake is kinda cool.

    you can't pick up the phone and check on your family. it's down. you can't see on the news how long it will last cause it's down. dead. the police can't come stop people from raiding your house cause how would you tell them? how would they patrol the streets?

    how can they get parts in to fix it? they'd have to be shipped in and those trucks are down. you can't make more cause power is out to the factory and they can't get there anyway.

    can you imagine? we couldn't get all uppity in here cause "in here" is gone.
  10. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    It is intriguing, no doubt. I've thought about it, discussed in the past and have done some research on various scenarios. There are credible ppl who maintain EMP damage is exaggerated, and opposing viewpoints from equally credible minds who maintain that it's a legitimate nightmare-- as awful as is imaginable. At worst it's a viable concern but is tempered by a MADD understanding, or more optimistically, not a plausible threat at all. Either way, I worry more about a looming McCain-Obama Presidency. That keeps me awake ...
  11. iceberg

    iceberg nothing is nothing Zone Supporter

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    heh, now to help ease this problem a potential president needs to say we'll work on "light energy" so this just won't matter.
  12. ThaBigP

    ThaBigP New Member

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    Well, you're a bit mistaken on a couple of fronts. First, the most likely scenerio for a successful EMP attack on the US (and the same applies to Europe, slightly smaller in geographic area):

    In a virtual instant, all electronics and electrical "things" will die. *<--- clarification, modern things. older stuff, like vaccum-tube equipment, is a bit sturdier, and isn't fried quite as easy

    No way to check satellite images for the source of the launch.

    no way to send orders to your fleet to respond.

    no way for them to contact you on the situation where they are.

    no way to transmit launch authorization codes that are required to launch a nuclear retaliatory strike.

    no way to spread news or instructions to a panicked population.

    no way to receive information from abroad on any other nefarious goings-on in the world (like Chinese storming Taiwan, Iran invading Israel, or whatever).

    and imagine how paranoid our leadership would be contemplating the previous example, with no way to confirm or dispell their fears.

    no way to respond to fires.

    or looting.

    or to tend to the wounded.

    and hospitals are dark with no way to maintain life support or even monitor a heartbeat, other than stethascope and/or fingers and a wind-up watch.

    and no way to refridgerate food.

    or even transport it.

    and no way to produce more food.

    or clean water for drinking.

    or to deliver the water to drink.

    or find out where it needs to go in the first place.

    also consider that we no longer manufacture anything here anyway. almost all the parts for our electrical infrastructure are now made overseas and have to be ordered. those orders, today, with everything working "normally" can take up to 6 months to fulfill. now imagine having to order every darn thing in our country all at once?

    This is why the Senate was recently briefed that of all potential attacks, this is the one that could actually bring the US or Eurpoe to its knees. And the idea of "we'll just retaliate" is not going to work here, as (aside from the problem with issuing that order in the first place, and discovering the state sponsor) the impact an EMP attack has is in direct proportion to the nation's reliance on electronics. an EMP attack in the only partially developed world would have little impact other than the flash everybody would see.

    As for what is required to pull it off at a bare minimum (and "bare minimum" still buys you a totally successful attack barring equipment failure or discovery before you can launch):

    A crude medium-range missle. guidance is not critical as long as it can go "up" and "over there". Check

    A crude fissile warhead. and in fact, the cruder the better. the best warhead for EMP is pure fissile (i.e. the old Uranium bombs). The more sophisticated fusion bombs actually do not produce as much EMP. Check

    A ship to troll close to shore, and make the launch. Flight time would be in the order of minutes. and by the time anybody thinks they see what appears to be a missile on the radar, the radar and everything else goes dark.

    Then you sit back and watch the civilization destroy itself in a panick, unable to feed itself, get drinkable water, or tend to sick and wounded. A nation of about 300 million would in fact be tossed back into an age where the technological achievements at the time could only sustain a population of about 30 million. Oh, and you won't have the technological acheivements previously mentioned. The best I've heard it summed up is, "we'd be thrown back into the horse and buggy era. Only without the horse and buggy."
  13. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    There's the nightmare scenario. I take it seriously but also believe military infrastructure is hardened sufficiently to respond to such an attack. The theory is that civilian life would come to a standstill...no Cowboys Zone that's for sure.
  14. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    I give you a 'good read' from one George Baker, Assoc Director For The Inst Of Infrastructure & Info Assurance-James Mason U. Here he discusses thoroughly the implications of EMP attack, and details our civilian vulnerabilities. He also talks about our critical military systems which have been largely protected.

    I'd give the article a good going over--it's a pretty sober assessment without any undue histrionics. Sure would have liked to been a fly on the wall in the recent hearing at the Arms Services Committee.

  15. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    Which is why the U.S. has missile defense systems in the works in Europe.

    But it's not the most comforting of thoughts to know that a chain of command would exist in the event of an attack. It would still be very damaging.

    Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld first detailed the &#8220;Scud-in-a-bucket&#8221; threat during a briefing in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 18, 2004.

    While not explicitly naming Iran, Rumsfeld revealed that &#8220;one of the nations in the Middle East had launched a ballistic missile from a cargo vessel. They had taken a short-range, probably Scud missile, put it on a transporter-erector launcher, lowered it in, taken the vessel out into the water, peeled back the top, erected it, fired it, lowered it, and covered it up. And the ship that they used was using a radar and electronic equipment that was no different than 50, 60, 100 other ships operating in the immediate area.&#8221;
  16. iceberg

    iceberg nothing is nothing Zone Supporter

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    maybe we should print up some of these tidbits of info.

    just in case. :)
  17. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Our military systems have been hardened for decades. So the so called nightmare scenario would be suicidal for any country that thought about it. Terrorists of course are different- but to get a nuke 100 miles up is beyond the capabilities of any terrorist group and actually only about 10 countries on earth have close to that ability. And to get it 100 miles over the US is a LOT harder. The show Dark Angel actually was a joke as regards the EMP part of it- but that is hollywood.
    The most likely happening is as was described in the first article- a small device detonated aboard either a aircraft or on top of a skyscraper.
    Pretty bad for the immediate area but thats all.
  18. yeahyeah

    yeahyeah New Member

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    Iran is 89% Shia...Iraq is 60% Shia....get my drift? If we like the nice progress we are making in Iraq I think the U.S. should do the smart thing and leave Iran alone.
    Nothing wrong with diplomacy....man i will be glad when Curious George hits the road.
  19. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    You HAVE kept up with little details like Iran wanting the bomb, right?

    You think diplomacy is going to get the mullahs to give up on getting a bomb?
  20. yeahyeah

    yeahyeah New Member

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